Another 15-day sentence: Pavel Sevyarynets left behind bars

Pavel Sevyarynets, a co-chair of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party and a former political prisoner, has been tried again.

The hearing took place on July, 8 in Savetski district court of Minsk via Skype, human rights centre Viasna reports. Judge Vera Halaukova has imposed another 15-day jail term on him for ‘calls to take part in a rally’ near Kamarouski market in Minsk on June, 7. It should be noted that earlier he was sentenced to administrative arrest for allegedly participating in the same rally.

“Everything was taken away from me, even the Bible. Why? Even murderers are allowed to have the Bible while serving their terms. I have spent 31 days here without having a shower, they provide me with only one litre of cold water [per day]. And some other prisoners, including women, have the same confinement conditions. What is going on at the very heart of Europe? Let’s be human!” Pavel said during today’s court session online.

Convicted activists complain of torture in detention center

Pavel Sevyarynets has been behind bars since June, 7. Since that day he’s had several more administrative arrests. During the trial on 18 June, he said that the day after his arrest he was thrown into a disciplinary cell: he can only lie down from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m., the room is 2 by 3 meters, and it is very cold.

“They took toothpaste and a toothbrush away. There’s no water at all, it’s off. [So] I had to cut my veins in protest. It’s never been like this here,” he said.

International human rights organisation Amnesty International launched a call to send letters to Prosecutor General of Belarus Alyaksandr Kanyuk demanding to immediately release Pavel Sevyarynets.

Minsk: Jailed politician cuts wrist in protest against torture

The presidential election is to take place on August, 9. Belarusian human rights defenders note the continuing trend of increasing repression even during the period of collecting signatures, including against the direct participants in the election, and the escalation of tensions and an atmosphere of fear in society. Since the beginning of the 2020 election campaign, incumbent president Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s would be rival Viktar Babaryka, might-have been opponent Syarhei Tsikhanouski, politicians Mikalai Statkevich and Pavel Sevyarynets, as well as dozens of people have been placed into custody.

As of 3 July, 125 people have been punished with to a total of 1,800 days in jail: initiating cases under articles of the Code of Administrative Offenses became a tool of political persecution. 246 persons got fines amounting to 190,000 Belarusian rubles; at least 680 cases of arbitrary detentions had been reported in the period of May, 6 – July, 1.

‘Real Stalinism’. Belarus officials may face sanctions, MEP warns